Why Is Blue so Rare in Nature?

Why so blue? As it turns out, very few things in nature only reflect blue light! A short video from a comprehensive science playlist highlights the beautiful blues of butterflies, birds, and human eyes. The narrator shows how adaptations at the microscopic level evolved to produce shimmering blues in some animal species.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Use the video to start a discussion of pigments in nature
  • Bring some bird feathers, including blue jay feathers, to class for students to examine after the video
Classroom Considerations

  • Talk for a moment about reflection and refraction of light before beginning
  • Be sure to stick around for the corny butterfly joke at the end!
Pros

  • Close-ups of butterfly wings and bird feathers are detailed and fascinating
  • Animations help viewers understand what is happening to different wavelengths of light to produce the blue color we see
Cons

  • None
Common Core